Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Garden of the Gods in Colorado

Just up the road from the Manitou Cliff Dwellings are some fantastic red rock formations jutting up from the hillside, named The Garden of the Gods. We'd visited this park when we worked at the Strasburg KOA in 2010, but we wanted to see it again. I noticed that coming up the freeway from the south the glorious red monoliths stood out above Colorado Springs proclaiming their presence over even the man-made buildings

First, though, lunch was in order. We stopped at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post at the south entrance to the Gardens and feasted on burgers. I liked the salt and pepper holders made from forks and spoons. Mr. Keith looks unique in his own right, too!

It was Saturday, a very busy day for touristing. The park was full of people, cars, bikes, and hikers. We stopped to get this shot of Pikes Peak and were rewarded with some horse-back riders who waved hello at us.

This is perhaps the largest of the rocks, showing only about a quarter of itself in this photo. You can see the tiny people at the bottom of the picture.

Another portion of the same rock shows a formation on the top called the "Kissing Camels".

 We saw some climbers trying their skills up the sheer side of the cliffs. Many people climb here, but are required to have a permit showing that they have the proper equipment and skills. It was rather nerve-wracking to watch!

I love this cliff side. To me, the middle part looks like a giant mummy!

Another awesome viewpoint along the trail. The best part of visiting this park is that there is no charge to get in. The original owner of the land deeded it over to the city in 1909 with the stipulation that it would always be open to the public for free. The city of Colorado Springs does do an excellent job of keeping up the grounds and taking care of the new Visitor Center, trails, and restrooms. Rangers are in attendance keeping a watch on the visitors and answering questions.

One last shot as we walked along the road on our way back to our car. I appreciate that the roads are mostly one-way, with a safe, wide lane alongside for hikers and bikers.

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